Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Not That I Know...

For the next couple of days, I plan to address the remaining questions I’ve received on these topics. I tried to cover most of the concerns in the previous entries, but these are a few that didn’t quite fit into the format. Here’s the first bonus question, which I have absolutely zero authority to answer. Hah!

“Your blog entries have been really geared toward singles… Do you have any advice for an old married woman about how to improve her marriage?”

Well, I don’t know you and I don’t have any details about your marriage, but I’ll do my best. And please remember: I’ve never been married, so I’m speaking mostly from what I’ve learned via my scripture, married friends, and books. Maybe the amount of books I’ve consumed on the topic will somehow bridge the gap between ignorance and information. You asked for it…

1. Pray for your husband. As often as possible.
I’ve already written about The Power of a Praying Wife, and I still use it as a daily prayer guide. I recommend buying it, breaking it in, and using it for the rest of your life.

2. Find the right place on the Speak Up / Shut Up Continuum.
This is a followup to the first point. My mentor advised me “Most of your complaints about your husband can be solved by keeping your mouth shut to him and open to God.” Not that there’s not a time to speak up—just pray about it first. Proverbs repeatedly warns men against marrying a quarrelsome or contentious woman. It says that she is like a constant dripping. We call it nagging. If you have a tendency to nag your husband, remember that it’s turning you into the person Proverbs talks about – and it says it’s better to live on the corner of a roof than in a house with that kind of woman. Uh oh.

3. Don’t just misplace your complaints – eliminate them.
When you stop nagging your husband, don’t transfer that over to your girlfriends. Or your mother. And refrain from putting him down in front of his friends. I know it must be a struggle, but that kind of talk (even when offered as a “prayer request”) only serves to emasculate and disrespect your husband. It destroys the intimacy of marriage and steals his trust in you. Build him up at every turn—in public and in private—and reject the temptation to tear him down. Always.

4. Work on your appearance.
It’s a big deal. You are the person God has given him to fulfill all his needs for feminine beauty. You are the one he chose. Plus, you deserve to take care of yourself. Prioritize it.

5. Have a lot of sex with him.
No, really. Initiate it. Revel in it. Initiate it again. Maybe you feel like he’s been neglecting you or that he never pays attention to your needs. Meet his anyway. And I suspect (it's all I can do, really) that it will have a way of warming up the fires of your relationship, not just your bedroom. Stormie Omartian puts it this way, “Something is built up in the man and the marriage when this need is met by his wife. Something is diminished when it is not. You leave yourselves open for temptation and far more destruction that you can imagine when this area of intimate communication is neglected… there is no excuse not to engage in it regularly.”

And with that, I’m done. Do any of you married people (men or women) have any other advice to add to this? Also, please correct me on anything I'm wrong about!



Christine said...

I agree with all of these, and I would say #3 is one that is so often forgotten or just plain ignored. As for the sex one, one thing I've realized lately in talking to a lot of married Christian women - is that it goes both ways. I've talked to frustrated married women who want to offer themselves to their husbands and do so regularly only to be rejected. It's kind of opposite of what you're taught it's going to be like, so these women end up feeling very insecure about their sexuality and what they have to offer. Why their husbands are rejecting them is a different story, but just know that this situation exists. I've never experienced this before but it did break my heart to hear about. I think the common teaching among Christian women is "your husband is going to want sex all the time, and don't you dare deny him" and I don't think that applies all the time. For example, if there are deeper issues in the marriage that need to be dealt with, I don't agree with a woman "making" herself have sex with her husband when the emotional connection is not there at the moment. Going through the motions is not what God intended for sex.

Amanda Michele Steed said...

"3. Don’t just misplace your complaints – eliminate them. "

I needed to hear this. I've been married for 3 years and I'm married to a Godly, loving, creative, wonderful man, and some of my friends just don't get to hear about that side of him because I'm too busy complaining he left the dang toothpaste lid open (or some other stupid little thing that in real life is no big deal.) Not only that, but I've TOTALLY been on the other side of the wife complaining thing. I can't stand when the only reason my friend calls me is to complain about her husband - I should totally stop being that annoying friend!!

I think your insight on this stuff is amazing. God is really showing you some Truth in all this.

Thanks for sharing.

Sarah McGalliard said...

You are so wise.
Seriously!!! It's so encouraging to read this and be reminded of several of the things that I am called to do/be for my husband. When you do get married, you will have one lucky man!!!

PS- I also think it's important that we (as wives) remember to pray for our friends and fellow wives as they strive to make these things integral in their lives. I know that I would welcome the support and prayer of my girlfriends!

Sarah McGalliard said...

I thought of another suggestion... I'm sure you've read it, Tara Leigh, since you said basically you've read a plethora of books on the subject, but "Intimate Issues: 21 Questions Christian Women ask about Sex" is an excellent book concerning the comment that Christine left. There is an entire chapter that deals with this subject.

TLC said...

Christine, you're absolutely right... I tend to forget that this actually happens, because I usually hear the opposite. However, thanks for reminding me of my worst nightmare. Geez.



Anonymous said...

Christine - If a wife has a right to refuse intimacy in the bedroom because there isn't an emotional connection at the time, would you then agree that a husband then has the right to cut off communication with his wife due to the same issue? He then has the right to watch sports and drink beer completely ignoring his bride?

Just as a woman needs her husband to communicate with her even when he doesn't feel like it, the same would go for her and the physical union.

Let me state that I am not saying she never has the right to say no but rather that no should be a limited period of time. Those problems probably will not be resolved until that physical union resumes.

But this is nothing that you haven't heard before so I probably did not need to put in that disclaimer.

ester said...

anonymous: i think you're ignoring the other solution to the problem, which is for the wife to address the emotional distance she feels with her husband. often talking it out will lead her to *want* to resume physical intimacy, and that's the ideal, right?

The Doctor said...

Perhaps Ester and "anonymous" are both saying the same thing, though she (is it wrong to assume that "anonymous" is a he?) says it more explicitly- these things need to be discussed out in the open. Of course the time for having that discussion is not always right, but it shouldn't be put off until sometime when she feels ready to reconnect. In truth it is more likely that reconnection is delayed much more by waiting to have that talk than anything else.
As the lone single guy commenting here who's not afraid to admit it, I'd like to say that I agree with TLC and Christine on these points. It is not fair to either spouse to be deprived of intimacy, whether it is physical, emotional, or even spiritual. To go a step further I would submit that if a couple is not intimate with one another spiritually then they are missing something that no other level of intimacy will satisfy, and by praying deeply with one another regularly, any issues that are between a husband and wife are very likely to surface and be dealt with in the very presence of the Third person in that union.

Anonymous said...

Another surprising book to add to your must read on marriage is Christopher West's, "The Good News About Sex and Marriage." A Catholic friend of mine challenged me to read it (nothing against Catholics at all, but the author is Catholic and since I'm not, I never would have thought to read it) but it gave my wife and I much to ponder about God's gift of marriage. Let's just say it wasn't what I thought. Catch a read if you can...peace to all.